For better and for worse, Lamar Jackson did not look like a regular NFL quarterback against the Chiefs on Sunday. First, the worse: Kansas City was able to regularly get pressure on the second-year player, forcing shaky throws on a consistent basis and often leading to overthrown deep balls, even when those passes were to the very fast Marquise “Hollywood” Brown. The numbers weren’t great either.
Now for the positive spin: this was Jackson’s second regular-season loss of his short career, but both came because the Ravens’ defense couldn’t stop Patrick Mahomes from throwing for multiple touchdowns and over 370 yards in each game. It’s also worth noting that despite the fact that this was Jackson’s worst performance of the season—as well as just objectively a poor passing day for him—the 22-year-old was still a special enough player to keep Baltimore in the game.
You don’t have to take my word for it. The jaw-dropping highlights he was able to put together should be enough evidence of this talent alone. Specifically, there were two miraculous throws he was able to complete in the fourth quarter that made other highlights—like snatching a defender’s ankles with an incredible juke—seem run of the mill. The first came early in the final period when Jackson heaved up a prayer to Seth Roberts, who was in a one-on-one matchup. Everything about the timing and form of that throw indicated that it was going to be an back-breaking interception, and yet it kept the drive alive so that Mark Ingram could score a touchdown just two plays later.
Still, the ensuing two-point conversion failed, so Baltimore remained in desperation mode. It was either that sense of urgency or youthful ignorance that resulted in this Mahomes impression from Jackson on the Ravens’ next drive.
Once again, everything about that the way that play developed, and the way the ball was thrown, should have resulted in a turnover at best. But Jackson is great enough to overcome those expectations and put his team in position to succeed against a Super Bowl favorite. Of course, he wasn’t done there. Just so he could put a bigger stamp of excellence on this game, the touchdown he scored on what became Baltimore’s final drive of the game looked like it came straight out of a video game.
If, for whatever reason, Jackson’s ability to shine even in a loss did nothing to change your mind about his potential for greatness, here’s my final attempt at trying to convince you: Jackson’s final touchdown helped the Ravens cover the 6.5-point spread.